Credit: Zoll Medical Corp.

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – David Torres says he was on the brink of death three times last year.

“I’m the strongest one in the family never considered myself a person that’s going to be sick,” says Torres, who lives in Fort Worth.

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He’s says he tries to be healthy and is an avid runner.

Torres, 59, has run 37 marathons, but last year he went through the unexpected.  “My first one scared me to death. I mean I can’t see myself going to the hospital and them telling me I had a heart attack really to me it was bad chest pain,” explains Torres.

That was in June.  In September he had another heart attack, and in October, yet another one.

Torres’ cardiologist sent him home with a cardiac arrest vest meant to be worn 24 hours a day.

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The ‘LifeVest‘ as it’s known,  is a wearable defibrillator that monitors a patient’s heart and shocks the heart if it stops.  “I was half on the bed kneeling and praying and then when I woke up I heard the machine telling me call your doctor go to the hospital,” says Torres.  The vest’s alarm had gone off like a siren and a blue gel was released to protect his skin before giving the jolt of electricity.

His heart had stopped for 15 seconds.  “His heart had stopped the defibrillator shocked it back into a normal rhythm,” says Dr. Nayyar Shah with the Heart Center of North Texas. “If Mr. Torres was not wearing the life vest at the time and his heart would have gotten to the dangerous rhythm he would have not survived this event.”

Dr. Shah says the LifeVest saves one life every 3 weeks in North Texas.  He also says there are unnecessary shocks, but they are rare.

Torres has given up the vest.  He now has an internal defibrillator.  “Every day I get up I give thanks,” Torres says as he looks forward to his next marathon.  That’s if his doctor clears him.

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